On Sunday, January 27th, a regular ski day was halted for approximately 160 skiers and boarders when a lift malfunctioned leaving some guests to wait in the cold for over 2 hours. At approximately 10:30 am, the Lookout Double Lift at Stowe Mountain, Vermont stopped unexpectedly due to an electrical problem. Both the main and the auxiliary engine stopped, Stowe Mountain Resort spokesman Jeff Wise revealed in a written statement.
At 10:45 am ski patrol started rescuing people from the lift by rappeling individuals to safety. Keri Crafts, of Burlington, and her two daughters reported that they were about halfway up the lift when it stopped. She told WCAX-TV,
“We sat there for about 2 ½ hours, and at one point, we saw people starting to jump from chairs to the ground.”
Luckily, over 5 feet of snow in January meant that for those capable, jumping was a viable option to return to safety as quickly as possible. Later in the day at about 1 pm, all guests were back on the ground with only minor cold-related injuries being reported.
The cold conditions and the fear factor of being trapped in the air were quite an ordeal for some,
‘‘We got off and we were so frozen, it was probably 20 degrees, maybe,’’ she said. ‘‘With the winds and snow, many people we talked to were like, we can’t even ski down,’’ said Keri Crafts of Burlington.
According to Stowe Mountain, the evacuation on the lift from 1979 was one of the first in nearly a decade. As a result, the ski area commented,
‘‘The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority,’’ while adding that they have ‘‘a maintenance and inspection schedule for the proper operation and safety’’ of their lifts.
The lift should be back in operation by next weekend, according to Stowe’s spokesman.